Thursday, September 25, 2008

Beyond the O/S?

As a leading-edge software developer, we try to identify the winds of change earlier than most. Software development lifecycles often stretch into decades, so all design and architecture decisions made today must be framed by the expected landscape in 2, 5 and even 10 years time. Of particular interest to us at the moment is the concept of 'cloud computing' where all applications are delivered through a richer browser and the connect between device and operating system is finally broken. Googles recent launch of the Chrome browser got us thinking "why do we need another browser and have we underestimated its value?" In this context, perhaps the browser will become the environment in which we will eventually manage every task including word processing, email, business applications and the management of files, on any device such as mobile, PC or TV. Indeed Google are providing an ever increasing range of productivity tools designed to compete with Office. Is Microsoft's grip on the computing experience beginning to weaken and is competition for the desktop necessarily a good thing when standards proliferate? Anyone who has tried to use Corels' excellent WordPerfect and Microsoft's Word in tandem will appreciate the dilemma!

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